I am currently drowning in university deadlines, so I am having to really keep on top of my workload and keep my time management at the best it could be until the end of semester. However, this has inspired me to write this blog post all about how to hit multiple deadlines on time, for them moments where everything comes and hits you at once.
This semester, within the space of a week, I had 2 essays and 2 presentations due… so I needed to make sure I had enough time to work on them all and not leave everything until the last minute. Hopefully these tips and tricks help for if you are in the same position as me!
Free printable calendars are your BEST FRIEND.
This sounds like an obvious tip, but I think when multiple deadlines are hitting, you need to plan out your time and keep track of your workload. I usually use a diary however over deadline season I print off free printable monthly calendars (the ones with the small squares) off the internet and use these to plan out my time in a very visual way. I usually have a different colour for each deadline, so I can see how much time I am devoting to each topic and can map out the weeks prior to the deadlines, so that I know that I can hit multiple deadlines on time without too much stress. However, I appreciate that I might just like this method because I am a very visual learner, so if you have any other ideas for other learning types please let me know.
Work out how YOU work best.
Different people work in different ways, especially under stress. Therefore, it might not be what you want to hear, but if you want to know how to hit multiple deadlines on time, you need to know how you work best. There is one main thing that you need to decide: Do you want to work on one project at a time, or divide each day up into multiple projects?
There are pros and cons for each. Some people like to concentrate on one project at a time, get it finished and submitted, and then move onto the next. However, some people would lose concentration easily by only focusing on one thing for days on end, so would rather do an hour or two of each project each day. I personally would rather divide my day into morning and afternoon, and focus on two projects a day. Its completely up to you though!
Break every single task down.
Once I started writing my to-do list like this, I will never go back. It seems scary but breaking your larger tasks into many smaller tasks helps you to break your day down in a useful way, and maintains your focus. Doing many smaller tasks is better than sitting down at your desk to ‘start assignment’ as being the only thing on your to do list for the week.
For example- I would break an essay down into these points:
- Read main text
- Read critical responses (could break this down further into specific articles)
- Mindmap initial ideas
- Streamline quotes and mindmap into condensed plan
- Attend office hour
- Initial draft
- Re-read and edit
- Have someone else read
- Format correctly
It seems so long but is one of the best ways to hit multiple deadlines on time, by maintaining your focus and actually staying productive for longer.
Plan in advance
Planning in advance is so crucial to making sure that you can hit all of your deadlines to the maximum of your ability but at minimum stress. Something I have found is that taking matters into your own hands is very useful. A lot of the midterm deadlines that I have are group projects, and despite having multiple deadlines at the same time, becoming a project manager for these tasks is actually useful. This is because you can organise the meetings in advance, and make sure that you are pacing the work to YOUR schedule, rather than rushing at the end and become even more stressed when you have other deadlines too. Using your initiative and planning in advance is definitely the key when working out how to hit multiple deadlines at once, and explaining to your peers that you want to start group work in advance because of other deadlines should hopefully mean you can get some tasks out of the way without cramming it at the end.
Short term pain, Long term gain
The one good thing about university semesters is that they are very short in the grand scheme of things, at only 11 weeks. Plus midterm season is usually only about 2 weeks of this. For a couple of weeks really try to focus on university, wake up earlier, go on less nights out and spend some more time in the library. Genuinely pushing yourself will pay off when a large proportion of your grade is already in place before the main exam season.
However, it is quite easy for me to say all of this, but if you are genuinely struggling please go and speak to your school, college or university. Exams cannot be changed but often if you have too many essays due at the same time they are open to offering extensions, as ultimately your mental wellbeing is the most important thing. We are all human, and the university know that too. It may not seem like it at times but they do want you to do well, and will put things in place to make sure you are achieving your potential.
Thank you so much for reading this post, and supporting my blog andsocial media. I presume if you are reading this you have a lot of deadlines coming up so chin up, you have got this, and hopefully this semester feels as short as it can be. Good luck!